ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Convincing Tory Victory.

Editorial from Volume XI, No. 41, October 10, 1959.

Although, as we go to press with this edition, over 200 results in the British general elections remain still to be announced, it is already being taken for granted that the Labour Party has lost and lost badly. The Conservatives are expected not only to romp home, but to do so with a considerably enhanced majority. If these predictions prove true (and few doubt that they will), it will mean that Mr Macmillan’s party has achieved the unprecedented dis-tinction in Britain of winning three general elections in a row – and enhancing its major-ity each time. Never has anything like this happened before; and the astonishing point is that this should have been the result of a poll on the eve of which the two parties were said by pollsters to be running neck-to-neck... The electoral battle was firmly anticipated on all sides to be a fight between more or less equally balanced forces. Everyone thought that the outcome, in whosoever’s favour it went, would be achieved by a narrow margin. Instead, we already have – half-way through the polling – a fairly clear prospect of a Conservative victory with a majority of anything up to 110 seats in the House, against the previous majority of only 57. Political commentators will long debate what it was that brought about Labour’s de-feat with such unexpected completeness, spe-cially as the Labour case was by no means a poor one. Its election-eve programme of social reform, embodied in the pamphlet ‘Britain Belongs To You’, was far more inspiring, com-prehensive and brilliant than anything the Tories had contrived to put forward. Indeed it was common talk in London before the elec-tions that any ideas the Tories had injected into their campaign were merely a case of theft from the Labour manifesto.

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